Details

ISBN-10: 022663888X
ISBN-13: 9780226638881
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 03/08/2019
Dimensions: 9.00" L, 6.00" W, 0.79" H

Under Osman’s Tree: The Ottoman Empire, Egypt, and Environmental History

Paperback

Price: $38.00

Overview

Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, had a dream in which a tree sprouted from his navel. As the tree grew, its shade covered the earth; as Osman’s empire grew, it, too, covered the earth. This is the most widely accepted foundation myth of the longest-lasting empire in the history of Islam, and offers a telling clue to its unique legacy. Underlying every aspect of the Ottoman Empire’s epic history–from its founding around 1300 to its end in the twentieth century–is its successful management of natural resources. Under Osman’s Tree analyzes this rich environmental history to understand the most remarkable qualities of the Ottoman Empire–its longevity, politics, economy, and society.

The early modern Middle East was the world’s most crucial zone of connection and interaction. Accordingly, the Ottoman Empire’s many varied environments affected and were affected by global trade, climate, and disease. From down in the mud of Egypt’s canals to up in the treetops of Anatolia, Alan Mikhail tackles major aspects of the Middle East’s environmental history: natural resource management, climate, human and animal labor, energy, water control, disease, and politics. He also points to some of the ways in which the region’s dominant religious tradition, Islam, has understood and related to the natural world. Marrying environmental and Ottoman history, Under Osman’s Tree offers a bold new interpretation of the past five hundred years of Middle Eastern history.

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Reviews
"'The Ottoman Empire was an ecosystem.' Thus, historian Mikhail concludes his rich, part socioeconomic, part environmental history of early modern Ottoman Egypt. Filling a hole in the historiography with a breathtaking array of cases, themes, and illustrations, Mikhail offers an ideal pedagogical tool for all levels of university courses. He digs into his analytical tool box and reveals an Egypt deeply integrated into the larger world, both economically and ecologically. From accounts of droughts and bubonic plagues to the aftereffects of volcanic eruptions in Iceland, Mikhail's contribution opens a new prism through which to study human interactions with nature. Perhaps the most valuable contribution is the author's charting of the vibrant synthesis of life patterns between peasants, local landowners, and imperial governors and the ebbs and flows of the natural life upon which the Ottoman Empire's wealthiest province depended. Add to the mix the equally complex (sometimes deadly) relationship Egyptians necessarily had with beasts of burden, rats, and fleas, all sharing the fate of the temperamental seasonal flooding of the Nile, and this book makes for an outstanding addition to any library. Essential."– "Choice"
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Details

ISBN-10: 022663888X
ISBN-13: 9780226638881
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 03/08/2019
Dimensions: 9.00" L, 6.00" W, 0.79" H
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